Going back to the 4-Hour Body, Slow Carb Diet

In late 2016, I discovered the 4-Hour Body, a book by Tim Ferriss where he recommends the “Slow Carb” diet. It is a variation of low carb diet. It has simple rules, easy to adhere to, and it delivers results.

Rules of the Slow Carb Diet from Tim’s blog:

Rule #1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white). This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains. If you have to ask, don’t eat it.

Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. You already do this; you’re just picking new default meals.

Rule #3: Don’t drink calories. Exception: 1-2 glasses of dry red wine per night is allowed.

Rule #4: Don’t eat fruit. (Fructose –> glycerol phosphate –> more bodyfat, more or less.) Avocado and tomatoes are excepted.

Rule #5: Take one day off per week and go nuts. I choose and recommend Saturday.

For a rice-loving Filipino, this diet could be tough because it means NO RICE except on the weekly cheat day!

What you can eat under the Slow Carb Diet:

Proteins

  • Egg whites with 1–2 whole eggs for flavor (or, if organic, 2–5 whole eggs, including yolks)
  • Chicken breast or thigh
  • Black beans
  • Beef (preferably grass-fed)
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Legumes
  • Lentils (also called “dal” or “daal”)
  • Pinto beans
  • Red beans
  • Soybeans
  • Vegetables

Veggies

  • Spinach
  • Mixed vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower, or any other cruciferous vegetables)
  • Sauerkraut, kimchee (full explanation of these later in “Damage Control”)
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Breakfast
  • The ideal breakfast is 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. Eggs are an easy way to do this (and boost success rate by 10%).

Caffeine is okay! Drink unsweetened coffee or tea without milk or cream.

Because this diet involves eating a lot of beans, my boss teasingly called it my “bean diet.”

I tried it for 6 months and it works!

From January to May 2017, I logged my workouts and my measurements. In January, I started at 155 lb and my waistline was 36.5 in. Then in May, the last measurement I took before falling off the wagon shows that my waistline was 33.75. I lost a total 0f 2.75 inches off my waist! By May, I also lost about 8 lb of weight. I forgot to log it in June, but my weight went down to 144 at some point.

This diet works! Especially if you workout and exercise, too.

But in June, however, I fell off the wagon and started the slow, downward spiral back to where I started from. I could think of at least 3 reasons why:

  • My work responsibilities and travel caught up with me. It’s quite difficult to keep on a diet if you’re traveling. I was traveling frequently last year that I failed to keep myself on this diet.
  • I felt that I was becoming too skinny. I didn’t really want to be too skinny. What I wanted was to be fit and to lose fats, not just the weight. Stepping on the scale is a misleading measure for overall fitness and health. There was a time in July that I thought to myself that I wanted to bulk up a little bit.
  • I started experiencing frequent dizziness and back pain. It was getting really serious that I decided to see a chiropractor to deal with my back pain. I also saw a neurologist toward the end of last year to deal with the frequent dizziness.
  • I’m back at it!

I still deal with the frequent dizziness but I have another neurologist appointment in March. Hopefully, we’ll get to the bottom of it and understand how to make it go away for good.

By the middle of January, I started following the Slow Carb Diet again. It might be good to start documenting the journey again.

I’m taking a different approach to exercise as well. Instead of joining a gym, I decided to do bodyweight exercises to save some money and do it more consistently every day.

Tim Ferriss recommends a set of supplements in his book. But I am only taking one particular supplement — Alpha Lipoic Acid, which I take in the morning before eating any food. It’s supposed to help metabolism and burn fats.

I will provide a quarterly update of my progress.

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